Layer your skin

December 1, 2007

Moisturizing the skin in dry winter months should be a layering process

Key Points

The advice about dressing in layers comes every winter: Dressing in layers helps keep you warmer, as body heat is effectively trapped in layers of clothes. What you may not know is that your skin may profit from "dressing" in layers as well.

Here's the scoop. Low humidity robs skin of vital moisture, and even in parts of the country with warmer weather, winter air usually brings lower levels of humidity. This affects your skin, because the air is literally seeking moisture, drawing it from every possible source, including your own precious cargo.

SO, HOW DO YOU ADD AN EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION?

Moisturizing in layers continues with applications of a moisturizing lotion to every inch of your body. Once you've done that, layer on a moisturizing cream. Often, using products made by the same brand is helpful, as you are layering on compatible ingredients that will enhance each other. Apply the cream to those areas that tend to be most affected by winter dryness: hands, elbows, knees and feet. Use a separate facial moisturizer, preferably one that has an SPF of at least 15, as incidental sun exposure can be harmful, even in the winter.

NOW, WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR?

Start with the label and look for ingredients such as dimethicone and glycerin. These will help draw precious moisture to your skin and keep it there. Also look for ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid - more moisture boosters for your skin. These are especially important for helping to maintain a healthy skin barrier, the uppermost layers of your skin.

For your face, there are a lot of high-performance products that offer protection, plus some great extras. Try Elizabeth Arden's Ceramide Plump Perfect Moisture Cream SPF 30, a treatment and moisturizer. It provides moisture-boosting hydration and Ceramide Triple Complex to strengthen, soothe and retexturize skin's appearance. It also features SPF 30 to help protect from the aging effects of the sun.

An over-the-counter line that dermatologists are recommending is CeraVe. Its moisturizing lotion and moisturizing cream also contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which are naturally occurring in the skin and help to replenish these ingredients that can easily be lost to harsh winter weather.

DON'T FORGET YOUR LIPS

Lips are very prone to the effects of cold, dry air and can chap and crack easily. So, your next layer should definitely be a ChapStick or lip balm. Investigate what Kiehl's has to offer, as their lip balms are especially soothing and protective. Carry a tube in your purse, and don't be afraid to apply it liberally throughout the day.

REMEMBER YOUR FEET, TOO

Remember, too, layers of clothes - while great for warmth - can also contribute to skin dryness. The heels of your feet might become tough and dry after being confined in boots for many hours. So when applying moisturizer, don't forget to literally go from the bottom up!